| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 53 - Page 180 of 215 Index | Zoom | |
"Also before they burnt the fat, the priest's servant came, and said to the man that
sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but
raw. And if the man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then
take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it
me now; and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very
great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord" (2: 15-17).
Evidently Hophni and Phinehas went further, and stepped in before God Himself by
demanding a cut from the carcass of the animal (which included the fat) before the
sacrifice was offered to the Lord. This was a direct affront to Jehovah, for His express
command given to Moses was that the priest should offer all the fat upon the altar. In
fact we find in Leviticus, chapter 7:, that the Lord said the fat was holy to Himself
alone, and if any ate of it--that person would be cut off from Israel.
To the honour of those that came up to the Tabernacle to worship on the feast days, it
would appear they only agreed to do this under protest, and endeavoured to ensure that
Jehovah would not be robbed. We read in I Sam. 2: 16, "Let them (i.e. Hophni and
Phinehas) not fail to burn the fat presently". They knew that unless God had the fat, they
could feast with little comfort upon the flesh. In cases where the worshipper raised an
objection, the demands of the priests were made by force. There could not be a greater
insult to God, nor abuse of the people, and we read in verse 17:
"Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men
abhorred the offering of the Lord."
So the life of the nation became corrupted at its heart. Worship was brought into
disrepute through the conduct of its leading ministers. Was it likely that piety, justice,
and purity would be honoured and loved in the land of Israel when the whole ritual of the
sacrifices was openly scoffed at and made a mockery in the great Sanctuary by the chief
Inevitably their lives became evil, and they took advantage of their position among the
women that came to the Tabernacle, and so immorality follows in the footsteps of their
greed in desecrating their high office. Eli at lasts stirs himself to rebuke them:
"And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by
all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord's
people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a
man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not
unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them" (2: 23-25).
The book of Proverbs should be noted here:
"Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof
shall die. Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of
the children of men? A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go
unto the wise" (Prov. 15: 10-12).
There are transgressions which may receive pardon and divine forgiveness again and
again, but there comes a time when this may be withheld.